It’s hard to beat a lizard laden, sun shiny, ocean retreat like the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, but add in the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) conference and you’ve got my attention.
I quite enjoyed a number of the talks. Michael Rodenburgh from IPSOS Canada spoke about behavioural data and offered some fascinating tidbits about where people go to and come from during the tourism and travel customer decision journey. Passive behavioural data collection is a fabulous data collection tool and if you’re careful about obtaining explicit consent, I’m a big fan of it.
I was fascinated by a talk that Thomas Roth and David Paisley from Community Marketing and Insights gave about research with people who are LGBTQ+. Terminology seems to be in a permanent state of evolution and I never know what the most current respectful terms are. Needless to say, Tom and Dave will now be my go-to experts.
TTRA holds a number of academic tracks throughout the conference. In these tracks, graduate students and professors share their academic work which means there is a heavy contingent of highly trained, highly specialized researchers at the event. For those of you who love statistics and the nitty gritty of research details, these tracks are definitely for you. I love them for two reasons. First, of course, you learn about the research itself. But second, and most importantly for me, they are a great way to refresh your statistical and methodology training. ANOVA results take front stage and we see betas, f-values, p-values, and all the supporting statistics. People comment on and strategize over minute details. These discussions make me rethink what I thought I already knew and update my opinions about how to use statistics. Love it.
I was delighted to speak on the main stage Thursday morning about AI, chatbots, and voice search (my slides are below). I shared results from a Sklar Wilton & Associates white paper showing that the general population is fairly knowledgeable about the state of AI. AI can now write newspaper articles about anything you ask of it, AI can create humour that people actually laugh at, in some sense AI can even read your mind, and Google’s millions of dollars have allowed them to create an AI voice that is practically indistinguishable from the human voice. Of course, AI isn’t perfect and Joy Buolamwini of M.I.T.’s Media Lab has conducted research showing how facial recognition technology has trouble recognizing dark faces.
Technology for the regular folk who don’t have millions of research dollars backing us up has progressed to such a point where it is useful for customer service reps, marketers, and market researchers. Customers regularly use AI to book flights and hotels whether through chatbots on Facebook or voice assistants, we can now use AI moderators from companies like Quester to conduct surveys with anyone who has a voice assistant, and chatbots from companies like Elsient to conduct text surveys.
As fabulous as AI is, people are still unmatched for their ethics, emotions, and genuine caring for other people. This is what market researchers bring to the research table. Sure, we bring tech. Tech speeds things up and helps reduce technical errors. But people bring research results to life.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the diversity of speakers, put your hands up, they’re playing our song, 54% of speakers were women. Rock on, TTRA!
Thank you Kathy and Scott for putting on a fabulous conference. We’re off to Melbourne Australia next year!
Welcome to the virtual MRIA 2011 annual conference! This post reflects my personal musings and interpretations of this presentation. It was written during the presentation and posted minutes afterward. Any inaccuracies and silliness are my own.
“Trends and challenges – the new Face of Marketing Research and Intelligence”
With Don Mills (Corporate Research Associates), Gary Bennewies (Ipsos), Tom Anderson (Anderson Analytics), and Jean Marc Leger (Leger Marketing0 Moderated by Bernie Malinoff (element54).
- Bernie is apparently the most interesting man alive. 🙂 (Janine Keogh from Kraft said so.)
- MRIA assumes no legal responsibility for the content of this session. 🙂
- Please tweet and blog the session so folks who couldn’t attend can join in. 🙂
- (FYI panelists knew the general topics but did not know the questions.)
Client needs: How have client needs changed and what do we need to do better or different moving forward?
- Jean Marc: No client, no problem. Clients are difficult. Some clients know nothing about research. Some clients know what they want and don’t know how to get it. Others THINK they know what they want. No matter what, no time, no budget. We need to be smarter, strategic conclusions.
- Don: Global brands have different needs than national or regional. Faster, better, cheaper is desired. Demands on supplier is burdensome. Clients want guidance dealing with new world of research. It looks sexy but they don’t know how to benefit.
- Tom: Clients want faster, do it yourself. More reason for control. Don’t fight the trend. LOOK for different kinds of clients. MR is more than just focus groups and surveys. Leverage big data, text mining.
- Gary: BQC, better, quicker, cheaper. New demand coming. We must understand client’s business so we can provide real insight and direction. Not just practitioners but business solvers.
Technology: How does a traditional company avoid being market research roadkill?
- Gary: Be involved in testing, experimenting, partnering in new things. Explore new ways of researching. Try biometrics. Maybe it won’t work but play with it. Take some risk. Past investments will become obsolete. 80% of marketing challenges end up in a study. In ten years, it will be fishing in the river instead. Harvest what already exists.
- Jean Marc: Only change is stable. Online is now traditional. 70’s was what. 80’s was why. 90’s was how. 2000’s is what if. Now the question is when. Do all that is short period of time. Listen to clients and they will decide what they will need. We still do the old but we do it differently. Data collection is less and less important. It’s HOW you analyze. Line between research and marketing? Clients requesting different services. Mid-size companies will find this difficult.
- Tom: MR is not an industry you want to get into now. MR needs to pick a direction. Join DIY trend? Build your knowledge into software. Become more of a consultant? Become a text mining service? Pick one.
- Don: You must move or you will be left behind. be in digital data collection. Old world vs new world. New world is not in the room. There is a social research industry that is not in this room. Brand new entrants. Different language – sentiment, content analysis. (That’s me! In this room!) If Kraft hasn’t figured out social media, where are we? How do we get value from SM? (Ask me! Hello?) Do political and media polls enhance or detract market research industry credibility?
- Gary: Use polls to boost profile. One of few ways to get a direct measurement of what you do, how close were you? Used all forms of research, not just surveys.
- Don: Industry shot itself in the foot in last election. Half of companies were wrong. Why? Never happened this much before. Nobody called for the result that we got. IVR was wrong, online did well, traditional telephone was a mix. Too many polls. Regional data was so far off and it complicated the problem. Don’t release small sample size data or you will be burned. It’s not OK when people get it wrong. Every company that gets it wrong affects the industry. It hurt our industry.
- Jean: Online was accurate last time. It’s our annual exam. You must demonstrate your accuracy. We aren’t trying to predict seats but the pollsters were good. Quebec was not easy, voting intention moved by 15 points. That’s crazy anywhere else but normal here. They did social media tracking as well. Polls are in the papers way too much. 350 polls published two years ago.
- Tom: Help politicians get instant feedback with social media, become part of the process.
What is the future role for individual (e.g., CMRP) and Corporate (e.g., ISO) certification?
- Don: Great supporter of certification. Most people who wrote and pass exam. Support it because we want professionalization of industry. It is a career. It is for their people not for clients. Supports ISO but is it affordable. If you are concerned about standards, DO something about it. make it look like a career choice, not an accidental job – professionalize it.
- Tom: Following a recipe of MR, under the guise of quality, does not behoove most of us. Are trade organizations relevant. It stifles creativity. No value in certification. Hire based on skills. If they had a methods class, they are at the top anyways. Never look for CMRP title. Experience matters. Do MR feel inferior to Doctors? I don’t need letters after my name.
- Gary: Is their value. Does it promote industry? Help clients select supplier? Standards are rooted around traditional research, maybe not so good. It stifles creativity. It can’t be a limiting factor. Certification must be current. Probability samples are out of date and yet it’s in the certification.
- Jean Marc: Concerned about ease, length of certification. Manager your system better. Invest in people. Where are all the other companies that aren’t at this conference? Young people are better than older researchers. They are way more efficient and they leave the office at 4:30 and then they might work at 1am. They are the future. (Let’s sing. 🙂
How are we doing as an industry to fuse these skill sets at an individual level? Business, methods,tech.
- Tom: If industry is bigger than surveys and it’s actually about knowledge, get employees and education. Get clients do a bit more and help them look smart. Pull in all types of data. Reverse mentoring – we should talk to younger people, mentor other industries. Read tech publications not just MR publications.
- Gary: Don’t want them all in one person. Have experts, different people. Skill sets change over time though. People behind the scenes need to be better at tech. Senior people are not road-bumps or barriers to clients accessing new tech.
- Don: Teach the employees your techniques. Hard to find people with good strategic thinking skills. Busy savvy comes with experience. Development environment is important. Autonomy is important. Let people grow at own speed. Young folk are aggressive about getting ahead and they will stay if you let them.
- Jean Marc: Challenge is how to build a team, generate innovation. People have weakness but the team has all the skills. Clients talk more problems, less methods now.
Why certify if everyone disagrees and it’s out of date?
- Don: ESOMAR is releasing new standards in SMR. Certification needs to keep pace. Be patient. (Young padewan)
- Tom: Burke has great courses. Skills useful beyond our industry. That’s the certification you need.
Canada’s role in the MR world?
- Gary: Canada is a resource, a talent, sabbaticals, moves. We have a lot of talent we can export.
- Jean Mar: We need strong competitors in Canada. Don’t have a lot of Canadian clients doing foreign business.Let Canadian companies buy, not be acquired.
Should we go back to random sampling?
- Jean Marc: Problem is voters don’t know who they are going to vote for. (That’s what we’re here for!)
- Gary: Is random sampling possible? Not everyone has a land-line. In perfect world, random sampling would be great but it can’t happen.
- Annie Pettit, Chief #MRIA2011 Blogger (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- A Public Twitter Conversation about Privacy: Agree/Disagree/Other? (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Skillen: Respondents Headed for Extinction #MRIA2011 (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Pettit: Survey + Cell + SMR #MRIA2011 (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- This is what research heaven is #MRIA2011 #MRX (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Scott Cho: Confessions of a Number Cruncher #MRIA2011 (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Speed Networking + Reception + Dinner #MRIA2011 (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Kees de Jong: Panels are People #MRIA2011 (lovestats.wordpress.com)
Congratulations to some friends at Ipsos!
The ARF congratulates the esteemed recipients of the ARF 2009 Great Mind Awards! The Awards were presented on Wednesday, April 1 at a special luncheon during Re:think 2009: The ARF Annual Convention + Expo. Sponsored by Harris Interactive, The ARF Great Mind Awards recognize individuals who bring excellence to advertising research in the categories of research innovation, rising research stars, important member contributions to the field and lifetime contributors to the industry and ARF.
For individuals who made an outstanding contribution to the ARF in the prior year. From above-and-beyond duty to providing pro-bono services, these are members who have made significant contributions to the success of the ARF and the industry.
Efrain Ribeiro – Ipsos
Renee Smith – Ipsos
[copied from the ARF website]